Section 2
Lesson 5

Because It's The Right Thing To Do.  Or Is It?  

          We need to obey the Holy Spirit; not protocol.

          Sometimes, we want or think we should do something simply because it's "the right thing to do". Indeed, God is the Lord of compassion, kindness, and love. As children of His kingdom, we carry His gracious heart in us, and God calls us to continually operate in these ways. There's plenty of scripture that says so.

          But is this all the Lord says?

         Concerning a man in the church that was in sexual immorality by taking his father's wife, 1 Corinthians 5:5 says, "Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord."  

          Wow, where's the compassion in that? How is it love to tell a brother in the church "you need to leave"? 

          When new believers who began their journey down the narrow path realize they can no longer participate in the activities that their broad pathed friends are still on, where is the love and compassion in saying, "I can no longer be your friend"?

          Kicking people out of the church or out of our lives seems to be the opposite of love and compassion. Especially for those we were really close to. Though this seems cruel and heartless, the Bible is clear what walking with Him looks like.  Truth be told, they'll feel rejected, judged, and abandoned. They will likely accuse us for being hypocrites or holier than thou, saying we are the real sinners for our hatred or self-righteousness. This is understandable, because it does seem to be the opposite of love.

          We know the truth though, that it's not rejecting them, but their lifestyle. And in the case of the man in sexual immorality, turning him over to Satan so that his soul can be saved is the compassion of Christ. When you understand that a person's eternal fate is more pressing than their earthly happiness, you care to do whatever is necessary to see them in Heaven with you one day. That's love. 

          I bring this side of the coin up to not only show that not everything God calls us to do seems loving, but also because sometimes we may not know that God is disciplining or purifying someone, so it might not be best to bestow compassion upon them. Helping or doing "the right thing" might actually work against or delay what God is working on in them. I've seen this several times with different people over the decades where, despite knowing their propensity for the sin, I was compelled to give the benefit of the doubt, and give these different folks a chance or two, opening my doors to them. Unfortunately, I never asked God if it was what He wanted me to do; I just did it because it was the right thing to do. I had this motto that if somebody that crossed my path was in need, God wanted me to help them. I now know that's not necessarily true but back then, that's where I was. Consequently, things not only back-fired on me, causing me distress AND interfering with what I actually was supposed to be doing for the Lord, I also saw how my trying to help them walk the narrow path only delayed the inevitable. Eventually they ended up in the very painful predicaments that I had desperately attempted to help them avoid. All I really taught them was to believe how I once did - that you "always" have to help someone in need so that when they became homeless again for the hundredth time, I was the one in the wrong for no longer taking them in.

          The devil knows you have the love and kindness of Christ beaming in you, so he'll try to use it against you. The enemy will play on your big heart, compelling you to do good deeds that he knows will actually cause more problems for someone, including you. And the thing is, as you know, he'll taunt you about it saying things like, "you haven't visited so and so in ages, you are not a good friend" or "you haven't helped so and so" or, "you haven't volunteered, you aren't being a very good Christian", etc.  And he does this to tangle you up because you won't feel as close to God if you are tormented over all the goodness you are not bestowing on the world around you. This is just one strategy of darkness to keep you preoccupied and weighed down - which is to your spiritual dysfunction. 

          Just because something is "the right thing to do" doesn't mean it really is the "right" thing to do. God has literally had to tell me no, do not help a particular person, because it would interfere with what He's doing. It's very difficult, but we must lean on God, not our own understanding.  We cannot operate out of protocol. We should never do something just because "it is right". We need to listen to God. He knows what is best in every situation. If you are surrendered to God, humble and eager to obey Father God, always asking God to guide you according to His heart and knowledge in every matter, then you will have peace when you are led by God to help someone. Follow the Lord's lead. But, don't be presumptuous. If your heart is so big that you do for others constantly without even thinking, simply double check with the Lord or at least always be on the alert for a red flag. Ask Him daily to give you a check in your spirit if you're about to be gracious in a matter that might interfere with His plans for someone, or that just might not be something you should do for no known reason.

          To the contrary, what about those times you get the unction that you should do something, but you do not want to or feel like it? For example, maybe you have the thought that you should take a plate of cookies to your new neighbor. Or perhaps you feel you should go visit someone in a nursing home.  It most likely is the leading of God, but... not necessarily. The goal of this module is that ODJ Members will be delivered from false guilt over not doing something just because it's "the right thing to do". And to know to lean on God better concerning what He wants us doing; always checking with Him. And lastly, not letting the devil play the guilt-trip game anymore.

          I know someone who, not being in the greatest financial situation, was invited by a relative to come live with him. Her relative had been living with the owner of the home who'd just passed away, and now there was no income to keep the home going. So, being family, the idea was she would leave her home, her town and life to go live there to take over the bills. Though in the long run it would be less expensive for her to live with her relative and she knew it would help him be able to remain in his home which made her feel pressed that she should do it, because it was the right thing to do, she also felt hesitant. But she shared about her struggle with me, so I prayed for the Lord to give her peace if it was truly the right thing to do, or to close the door if it wasn't the right thing to do. Within three days she had her crystal-clear answer that it was not the right thing for her to do. And though she felt bad and this was displeasing to her relative because he didn't know what he would do now, she knew she was not to feel guilty because we checked with God. ~Sometimes it appears we are the source, the answer to a problem, which compels us to think we have to do it. This situation proves that this simply isn't so. God always has a solution if people will just ask and trust Him. (Not trusting Him will interfere with His getting the solution to us.)

          As for those times God is the one nudging you to do something good but you avoid doing it, what might that look like? Does He harass you about it?

          Over the course of a couple months, I kept getting the idea that I should reach out to a distant friend, offering to help with a particular matter. (I say distant because we were never close, but very basic friends that chatted a bit a few times, and we'd help each other out on occasion.) However, something happened the year before where she was super mad at me out of nowhere and said some things in a way that made it seem she hated me, so I backed off. Honestly, I didn't know what to do. Talking things out just wasn't going to happen. Meanwhile, I didn't hold any angst against her, I actually felt bad for the blow-up. But at the same time, it was very awkward when I ran into her because of the situation. So, I preferred to just steer clear and not face the tension. But after a year had passed, I kept getting the nudge to offer to help with a particular matter, but kept saying, "Okay, I will, soon, Lord. If you provide the opportunity, I'll take it." Well, two months went by and no opportunity arose, so I assumed God wasn't the one prompting the matter. Until one night while not even thinking on that situation I prayed, "Is there anything you want from me, Lord? Anything you would like me to do for you?" And He said, "I've been asking you for two months to... and you still haven't done it."

          I reminded God how I'd been asking Him to open the door and He gently scolded me saying that was my way of avoidance. All I needed to do was approach her. So, I repented and obeyed right away. In so doing, the relationship was totally mended and all the tension disappeared. God showed me it displeased Him that two of His children would be at odds like that. And after a year of it, He wanted it put to rest. Honestly, we never discussed what had happened which is unusual for me. I prefer to get to the bottom of things. But the Lord just told me to show my love by offering to help her with something. I finally did, and wow.

          Of course, that was an instance where God was directing me to do something and I was resisting Him. But the reason I shared that story was to point out that for the two months that I resisted God, He never laid a guilt trip on me.  He did bring it up more than a handful of times, but He did not harass or manipulate me with guilt. Though I was convicted when God pointed out that I was dissing Him, I did not feel small, heavy, or distant from Him. Based on past experience when (unbeknownst to me at the time) the devil hounded me that I should do this or that, I now know it was the devil because I was always so tormented and guilt-ridden if I did not do it. Or worse, giving in and doing it ended up causing a problem as I shared above.  So, I've learned that if I'm compelled to do something that I don't want to do, if I become anxious over not doing it, it's a red flag. So, now I try to take everything up with God to confirm either way.

          I also want to point out the very fact that you do not desire to do something may actually be the result of a check in your spirit that God put there. It may very well be the Lord saying, "No, do not take cookies to your new neighbor!"

          In the late 90's my brother and I had driven about 1.5 hours away for a special church service. On the drive home we were passing near where our dad lived. We were astranged during our childhood, but had gotten to know him some. So, since we were together and passing by his town and coming to the exit we would need to take to get to his place, I asked my brother, "Should we stop and see dad?" to which he almost violently said, "NO!" I was like... "Uh, okay." He said he had no reason for saying no which may or may not have been true, but that he just wanted to get home. To me, however, it was more than a "I just prefer to get home" kind of no.   A few days later I received a call that my dad had been deceased for four days. My brother and I would have been the ones to find him had we stopped a few nights before. Meanwhile, I'd felt bad for not stopping when we had the rare chance - because it was a right thing to do. But I now know and believe with all my heart, God put that peculiar, strong resistance in my brother, to protect us.

          For all you know, if you get a nudge to take cookies to the neighbor but you keep putting it off for reasons you don't know, it very well could be that God is protecting you. Or He just does not want you associating with this person because no good can come of it. So, the resistance you feel may very well be God stepping in to stop you. Holy Spirit or your angels may be steering you away from the idea.

          At the end of the day, though, how do we know if our inclination to do something good, especially because it's "the right thing to do", is actually something we should or should not do? The short of it is that we simply need to check with God. We must run it by Him. If it's not a problem, we'll have peace. And if we are avoiding something, we can ask Him about that as well - if we're disobeying His lead, or if it's a bad idea for some reason. 

          Trust me, I don't have to tell you that there are a million ways we can be compassionate every day, and that the first instinct is to always take the opoprtunity to do what we can for others. It's actually great if that's our first inclination. But there are particulars and variables we do not know. On top of that, there are other things God would prefer that we do instead that we'll miss by doing the "wrong" right thing. Including doing nothing at all but resting, which is sometimes crucial to our health and well-being. Not to mention, the devil will also play on our Christiandom to keep us so busy with good deeds that we aren't able to rest in God properly - wherein we'd see what God really has for us. There's all sorts of reasons that we should just check with God.

          I repeat: Just because something seems like the right thing to do does not mean that it is.  Again, the enemy can use our big hearts to trip us up or even lay guilt trips on us to keep us off track or tangled up. We must always ask God to guide us to do what He wants and to give us a check in our spirits loud and clear if we're about to do something 'wonderful' that might not be a good thing after all.

          And again:  Keep in mind that our duty is to obey the Lord; not protocol. The reason I wrote this module is because I've been more conscious lately of God's pain over His children living their Christian lives full of guilt and being run-down over the false teachings in the Church (such as the false represenation of Hebrews 10:25 supposedly meaning it's sin to not be a regular member of a church), and our vulnerability to feel guilty for not following protocol. The guilt plague is literally a rampant virus in the body of Christ.

          As I've been sharing, and as you probably already knew for yourself, God is raising up His army. But an army cannot fall for the lies of the enemy, or they're defeated. One of the enemy's lies is that we need to feel guilty if we are not comfortable with doing something that we think "we should" just because it's the right thing to do or protocol. That's wrong. To super simplify things, I'll just put it like this: If there's something God sincerely wants someone to do, He'll speak to them about it and make Himself known.  But He won't harass them even if they avoid His unction. He won't strike them with lightening. He won't torment them. And He won't manipulate them into it using people to play on their emotions or push their buttons. That's how the devil does things. 
           
          Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for all ODJ Members that if they have the propensity to feel bad for not doing good things that you never said for them to do, or if they have a history of being tangled up or tormented over what to do when they're just not sure, or being lured into doing good things for the sake of wrong reasons, to set them off course, or cause them problems, I pray they have clarity of mind and heart from now on to know when you are the one leading them as opposed to the devil. And I pray they will be always check with you, and that you will give them profound peace if it's right to something, but give them a huge red flag or a check in their spirit if the right thing is actually not good. I ask you to give them clarity and wisdom in all they do. And I ask that if there's something in their soul or belief system that's made them vulnerable to the devil's guilt trips or persuasion, that you illuminate it. I speak to spirits of pride and insecurity, that you be dismantled from the ODJ Members so that they will no longer be vulnerable to yield to you. Whatever the case, Father God, please get to the root and cut out the problem, so that they will no longer be tripped up by the devil under the guise of "doing the right thing". Thank you for helping and delivering them from all this, Lord. Thank you for reminding them to check with you from now on. And lastly, thank you that they will no longer be weighed down by such issues any more. In Jesus' Name, Amen.